Inmate records pulled after I-Team exposes gaffe

November 24, 2010 4:28:07 PM PST
The Illinois Department of Corrections has removed any trace of prisoner Mark Hay from its Internet site.

That was in response to ABC7's Intelligence Report Tuesday that Hay was an FBI informant and that a federal judge didn't want ABC7's sketch artist to draw him in court.

What goes up must come down, and that was the case Wednesday with the state prison photo of Mark Hay. It was taken down following a textbook example of the government's right hand not knowing what its left hand was doing.

The miscue was uncovered by the I-Team Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman inexplicably insisted that the face of Mark Hay, a defendant in a major organized crime prosecution, be left blank.

The unusual requirement came even though Hay was fully visible to anyone sitting in Judge Guzman's courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building.

Even more puzzling was the fact his color photo, personal description and criminal history were easily accessible on the Illinois Department of Correction's public website. Overnight, at the request of federal authorities, state officials say they removed it.

Hay had secretly worked for the FBI during an investigation of an alleged alliance between the Chicago Outfit and the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle gang, covertly recording numerous conversations with -- and about -- the other four defendants charged in the federal racketeering case.

The men are accused of conspiring to bomb a Berwyn video poker machine maker that was in competition with mobsters. On one tape Hay is heard talking with accused old time hoodlum Sam Volpendesto.

Wednesday, Hay wrapped up two days of testimony aimed at bringing down Michael "the Large Guy" Sarno, who Volpendesto was heard describing as in line to be the Outfit boss.

Before breaking for the Thanksgiving holiday, Judge Guzman ruled that lawyers in the case will not be able to ask questions of witnesses about the Chicago mob. Even though the lawyer for convicted mobster Mike Sarno already asked one witness about the Outfit, the judge said no more.


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